During a crisis, the natural tendency of business managers is to assume that problems will subside on their own or to focus exclusively on the customers.
Crises are no longer atypical; they are structural. During a crisis, the main attribute at stake is trust. Although crisis resolution usually requires companies to adopt operational, commercial, financial, or labor-related decisions, good communication management plays a vital role in ensuring that the company’s image stays clean and avoids irreversible damage. More than economic sanctions, criminal liability, or damage to the company’s image, crises always entail very deep feelings such as fear, insecurity, and rage.
All companies know—or should know—their weaknesses and vulnerabilities. With these factors in mind, they can outline a crisis prevention and management plan that will allow them to minimize the impact of a difficult situation that could cause them to lose the trust of key stakeholders, be they investors, consumers, or employees. Companies must anticipate and prepare for the worst-case scenarios, understand who their key audiences are, and be ready to convey the right messages to them.
In times of crisis, we are continually in contact with all of our audiences. Communication allows us to manage, in real time, our efforts to listen, engage in dialogue, and tailor our messages as events unfold. You have to be able to decode stakeholders’ expectations. During a crisis, the natural tendency of business managers is to assume that problems will subside on their own or to focus exclusively on the customers, neglecting other audiences such as government bodies, unions, the media, consumer associations, and even competitors.